Create A Shower Sanctuary For Daily Stress Relief
> Transform your mundane shower into a really special event for self-therapy
Something we all cherish. Something we all know we should prioritize.
And yet, it’s also something many of us reminisce about fondly as a distant dream from a time long past when we were just kids with no job, no responsibilities and no worries in the world. About the only thing that was a priority was having mac-n-cheese for dinner.
Today, it’s a totally different story. Now, it’s all go go go with things coming at you from all directions.
You wake up, get ready for work and rush out the door ready for the daily grind.
You walk into the office and take the same usual route through the cubicle maze to your desk. You boot up the computer and brace yourself for the e-storm that’s waiting for you in the inbox.
The day’s calendar isn’t any better - several back-to-back meetings and a few conference calls mean that you’re not getting ahead on current tasks and all the new shit is gonna pile up on top of the old shit.
Once work is done, it feels like your personal life is another job in itself.
Chores, life admin, errands, sorting out the kids or other family issues. There’s usually something that demands your time and attention every weeknight and most weekends.
When you have bills to pay, kids to feed, parents to visit, a promotion to win, a house to renovate etc, taking time out for yourself seems like a luxury you simply can’t afford.
Some people would even scoff at the notion of self-care. They believe that taking care of yourself is “selfish and self-indulgent.” To them, it’s all about self-sacrifice for the betterment of others.
We’re here to tell you...fuck that!
If you don’t look after yourself how can you take care of anything or anyone else?!
But we’re not unreasonable.
We know that week-long wellness retreats, lavish multi-day spa visits and running away to the forest to reconnect with nature aren’t ideas that work for us regular folk - at least not frequently.
So we want to let you in on a top self-care secret.
There’s something you can do to get ultimate me-time. It’s something you (hopefully) already do every day, doesn’t require bags of cash or lots of spare time, and you can start tonight!
It’s...a shower - ta-da!
Yes, the humble shower which is often a rushed affair and a necessity rather than a luxury can be pimped to make it the ultimate me-time.
Why Make Your Shower Count?
But why? You might ask.
Sure, a shower is self-care in that it helps you to stay clean and keeps your hygiene in check. But, it can be so much more than that.
It can be a daily event that not only physically cleans your body but also symbolically washes away all your negative thoughts and stressors - even if it’s only for five or ten minutes.
It can be your little getaway from it all.
But why on earth would you choose the shower of all places as your spiritual sanctuary?
1) It’s Already In Your Routine
A lot of the time, when it comes to getting some respite from our busy lives, we need to carve out time to do something.
Whether it’s going to a yoga class, taking a walk in the woods or getting a massage, we have to make time in an already hectic schedule - and often have to travel somewhere to get our wellness fix.
When it comes to taking a shower though, it’s something we already do every day, right at home.
Again, it’s not something you have to travel or carve out too much time for. It can be easily added to your evening routine as something you do before you go to sleep...and it’ll make for a real good night’s sleep!
2) It’s Private
Don’t you hate it when you’ve finally gotten everything addressed, sorted out, cleaned, etc. and you’ve managed to save a few minutes for yourself for some quiet downtime and all of a sudden there’s a knock at the door or someone calling out for you from the other end of the house?
You have that momentary angst of frustration, “Jeezus...can I just get a fuckin’ minute to myself?!”
(Sigh) So much for your “me-time”, huh?
The great thing about bathrooms is that they automatically convey to everyone that you’re not available. And that you can’t barge in, unless you pull a rookie mistake of not locking the door.
3) It’s Basically Free
Other than potentially causing the tiniest uptick in your water bill, and setting you back a few dollars for some spa essentials, using your shower as your self-care sanctuary is free!
What a welcome development in the age of $1,000 facials and $100-a-month gym memberships.
It’s something we all take for granted. Bathrooms and modern plumbing are both huge conveniences that we often forget about until the moment we can’t use them.
4) Science Says So
While soaking in a bath is the better option for optimal mental health, studies have shown that showers have a stress-relieving effect on the body and the mind.
Researchers at Harvard University found that showering in the evening helps to reduce our level of cortisol, the stress hormone. It also biologically triggers our body to prepare for sleep.
After you take a warm shower, the cooling your body experiences afterward tends to be a natural sleep inducer. So it's the perfect way to prep your body for bedtime.
Part 1: Turn Your Bathroom Into Your Personal Sanctuary
It’s the end of a crazy stressful week, you’ve been looking forward to the start of the weekend all afternoon. In fact, you set time aside specifically for a nice long relaxing shower in the evening.
But, when you step into your bathroom...uh-oh.
You walk into the same old bathroom, with that gaudy shower curtain you instantly regretted putting up and that vaguely musty scent you’ve almost stopped noticing.
Not a great start.
The first order of business is to clean and tidy up the bathroom. Get rid of the excess trash and put things back to where they belong. Get everything organized. You need to start with a “clean slate” to set things up.
Once this is done, you can create your own special mood and vibe by trying out several of these ideas.
1) Accessorize To Organize
When there are all sorts of random stuff scattered about the bathroom counter, it makes for a stressful environment - the exact opposite of what we’re aiming for.
So, get all that shit organized into mini colorful containers, baskets and holders. When there’s “a place for everything and everything is in its place,” you’ll feel much more relaxed.
Keep all the daily toiletries within easy reach and keep all the bathroom cleaners and other hideous stuff under the sink or in the cabinet.
2) Add Some Plants
Bathrooms are a unique space unlike other areas of the house. It’s typically a room that has a wide range of environments that make it tough for any plant to survive.
When the shower is being used, it creates a very high humidity environment. When it’s left empty for most of the night, the temperature can drop quite a bit. And most bathrooms don’t have large windows for privacy reasons, thus don’t get a lot of natural sunlight.
The best kinds of plants for the bathroom are stout plants that can handle this wide range of situations. Here are a few that can tough it out in the bathroom that can be found in smaller sizes, don’t take up a lot of space and don’t need much maintenance:
Mini bamboo plants can bring a sense of Feng Shui and calmness into the space. It’s the reason why it’s a spa staple.
Cast Iron plants are the Tonka toys of the plant world. They are pretty much indestructible and can live in extreme environments with low light and minimal watering.
Peace Lilies are also a tough bunch that can handle temp variations. Their lush leaves can also help purify the air too.
Ferns naturally live in moist environments with low light - just like bathrooms. Their delicate mini leaves add a perfect touch of class.
Snake plants also a hardy type of plant that can take on and tolerate anything that your bathroom may throw at it. Plus, they also filter out the air too.
3) Awaken Your Senses With Scents
Aromatherapy is the use of natural plant extracts to support health and wellbeing, and is predominantly associated with inhaling the scents of these plants.
Both of these are brilliant qualities for a stress-relieving shower. The aromas that are perfect for your shower are:
Tea tree - a natural antiseptic and great for your skin
Peppermint - another decongestant but also an energizing scent for if you want an energy boost
Orange - great for uplifting your mood
Frankincense - boosts mood and helps to relax you
Rosemary - fights fatigue and helps with tension headaches
Chamomile - calming, perfect for before bed
You can get these powerful scents into your bathroom by using:
A diffuser or oil burner
Shower products infused with the oils
The plant itself!
Whatever method and whatever scent you choose, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
4) Bring In Your Favorite Tunes
Music is a proven mood booster! Depending on the intended outcome of your self-care shower, you could choose some uplifting power ballads, some smooth jazz or some relaxing meditation music.
Or you could check out some of Spotify’s pre-made playlists - they even have one called “Songs To Sing In The Shower”.
Take some time to build your playlist so that once you’re in the shower, all you need to do is link up a waterproof Bluetooth speaker and press play. There are lots to choose from - just don’t go overboard with a large speaker. All you need is a mini one.
5) Replace Worn Bath Mats
Yeah...that old matty and musty bath mat that you’ve been using for the past couple of years has got to go. The next time you’re out shopping at Target, Walmart or wherever, check out the bath section and pick out a nice new lush set of bath mats.
Stepping onto a fresh, new and clean bath mats after showering is the perfect way to end the shower. Your feet do a lot for you all day long. They deserve a little treat too.
Bonus (If You Can Swing It): Get A Turkish Bathrobe
Wrapping yourself with a large towel after showing is standard operating procedure. It’s nothing special. It’s become something you do on autopilot after showering.
However, there’s nothing like wrapping yourself into a lush, soft, full-length bathrobe. It feels so fucking good.
It extends the feel-good sensations from the shower to the bedroom and beyond - should you feel so inclined to be prancing around “al fresco” in your home.
The best ones are genuine Turkish bathrobes - thick, soft and lush, all high quality and typically costs above $100. You can opt for less expensive ones that aren’t as thick but can still give you the same kind of feeling.
Part 2: Slow Your Shower Down With A Flow Meditation
So now you have the spa-like environment but what do you actually do in your shower other than, well, shower?
It’s important to consciously take this time as stress relief time, rather than just showering like you would at any other time.
The key thing here is to really slow it down. Instead of your normal 5 minute soak-soap-rinse rush, extend it to a more relaxed pace by taking your time.
There are a number of approaches you can take, from practicing gratitude to breathing exercises.
Our favorite shower stress reliever is this simple flow visualization meditation.
Step 1: Start to take long, slow, deep breaths. Breathe into your abdomen space rather than your chest, and try to keep your inhales and exhales of equal length.
Step 2: Close your eyes and start to visualize the water coming from your shower as pure, bright, white liquid light.
Step 3: Visualize the light pouring over your body and see this as a form of cleansing. The white light is carrying away any stress, negativity or pain from your body, your mind and your soul.
Step 4: If you would like to, you can also visualize the color of the liquid light changing from white to gray to black as it cascades from your head to your toes, washing away all the negativity off your body and disappearing down the drain.
Step 5: Stay with this visualization for a few minutes. Then start to breathe deeply again, this time audibly sighing out on the exhales. After a few breaths, open your eyes.
Repeat this process while keenly paying attention to all the sensations - the temperature of the water, the scent of the soap and shampoo, the feel of the water splashing against your skin, the warm humidity rising around you, etc.
And finally, as a reminder, don’t blast through your shower routine and just go through the motions. Slow it down and focus your mind on the present moment of what’s happening all around you.
Make Your Shower Special To Wash Stress & Anxiety Down The Drain
A lot of times, we just don’t want to go through the hassle of showering. Sometimes, we’re just too damn tired. We just want to vegetate in front of the TV or just go right to bed.
Too often, the shower has become just another chore.
However, if you make it into something that’s easy, feels good and is truly relaxing, the daily shower can be something that you’ll look forward to every day.
By creating your own little bathroom sanctuary with some of the ideas above and making your shower a daily treat, you’ll never want to skip it.
And once you get it all “dialed-in” to the way you like it, you’ll go bonkers over showering just like Misty the dog below.
VIDEO: Funny Corgi dog goes crazy over SHOWERS!!
YOUTUBE: Brian Kluth
> If children were like this, life would be so much easier
> If you added treats to this mix, Misty would overdose on joy
> Misty really lives up to the term “jump in the shower”
How many self-care routines have you started and then either forgotten or given up on?
That awesome new yoga studio which became too ‘out of the way’ after a few weeks.
The weekly visit to the park which kept getting missed because of the endless weekend errands.
The monthly trip to the spa which started to seem like too much of a luxury to justify when there are so many other expenses to worry about.
It happens. Not enough time, not enough money, not enough of a priority.
Are you likely to be too time-poor or cash-poor for a good, long shower though?
And that is why creating a bathroom sanctuary and turning the shower into a self-care stress therapy session is one of the easiest ways to boost your well-being and your sense of calm all at once.
Does wearing a Turkish bathrobe sound a little indulgent?
Sure. But “me-time” is a priority and not a privilege, so anything that can help you in your journey to well-being can and should be put first.
By being intentional about making your shower a part of your daily self-care routine, you’ll notice tension, worry and fatigue washing down the drain along with the suds.